Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven & Hell with Black Sabbath - Tony Iommi, T.J. Lammers (2011)

Chapter 32. Going to the big house

Susan didn’t want to live in my house in Stafford, so we decided to move to a place between London and Birmingham. We were looking at houses to buy, but couldn’t find anything we liked. One day her dad said: ‘Why don’t you come and live here? This house is far too big for us.’

Sue went: ‘That’s an idea.’

And so we did. We had a major part of this massive, 200-room house. My father-in-law built a partition between their living quarters and ours and we lived there for quite a few years.

Just like in Carlisle, we weren’t the only ones there. I saw an apparition going up the stairs one night. It wasn’t like a three-dimensional person, it was more like a figure. And I had more weird things happening there. We had these big, old-fashioned keys in the doors to all the bedrooms. I was in the lounge one night and I had my briefcase open. I closed it and I went upstairs to bed. I heard this big bang and ran downstairs again. One of the big paintings had fallen off the wall. I walked into the lounge and my briefcase was open. And I went to open the door and the keys had gone. All of them. Never found them again. I talked about this to my in-laws and they said: ‘Yeah, there is a ghost here. But he’s a friendly ghost.’

Things like that make you really think. A poltergeist, for a start, can be horrible, but . . . they can move an object! I’ve always been able to see things that most other people can’t. It’s hard to talk about it, because people think, right, he’s had too many drugs. But I actually did see things, like the Carlisle ghost. Saw him as clear as day.

I always wondered about what happens when you die, when you’re beyond this world, and tried to find information about that in books. While living at the big house, I read a lot of books by Lobsang Rampa. He was a writer who claimed to have been a Tibetan monk before spending his later years in the body of an Englishman, or so he wrote. I started getting into all this leaving the body stuff, astral travelling. I really believed in it and that made me want to do it. I planned it and thought about it and I tried it a few times, but nothing happened. When I finally managed to do it for the first time, I came out of my body and, with a jolt, suddenly jumped back in. You feel it pulling you back as your astral is leaving your body; you feel this pull up your spine. I must have got frightened and I came straight back in.

Once I had done that I was determined to make it work properly. I kept practising. You’ve got to be by yourself in a room and you have to really, really relax, but not to the point of falling asleep, because you have to stay conscious. And then you will yourself to leave. At first it’s funny, because you feel like you’re falling. Most people have had that feeling when in bed. You go, oohh: you experience a jolt. That’s when your astral comes back in your body when you dream. You’re asleep and you’re just about to leave your body, and if you move, whoof, it comes straight back in and you get that jolt.

After a while it worked. I came out my body. It was weird. I floated around the room and looked down on myself from the ceiling. And I could leave the room, go through walls and go off to the roof. It sounds mad, but once I even went along the beach.

You come back. You’re attached by a silver cord that pulls you back. If that’s ever severed, you don’t, so it can be risky. When you dream and your astral leaves your body, and an entity is in the lower-class astral, and it pulls on your silver cord and annoys you, you get these horrible dreams. It could be caused by drugs or drink, just anything. I know it sounds odd, but I have experienced all that and it opened another world to me.

I don’t know why I don’t do it any more. I didn’t follow it through. I have actually tried it a couple of times and: nothing. I can’t leave my body any more. But in those days I could do it quite easily. I got to a point where I could do it without falling asleep.

I still believe you can go to a non-physical plane of existence. When you die you can go there, and you can look back on your life in a thing called the akashic records. I really think that’s what happens: you can go and see whether you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve, and if not you can be born into another body and try again . . .

Back to the reality of living in that huge house, I tried to rebuild and redecorate it. I phoned up this one company and I saw this painter and decorator’s van come up the long drive. He came to the house, looked at it, turned around and drove straight off. I just couldn’t find the people who could take on a place that size, so I had to get contractors in who normally did schools. You wouldn’t be able to buy huge properties like that any more, but in those days they were still quite affordable. And now it’s a wonderful hotel, Kilworth House. The old snooker room is now the dining room, and the conservatory is still intact as there were only three of those in the country and there is a preservation order on it. All I did with it at the time was grow tomatoes in it, and some exotic plants. But probably the most exotic thing in that place at the time was a long-haired guy from Aston, who only a few years earlier had shared his tiny bedroom with a lodger who came from nowhere, a million boxes of peas and a phone that kept disappearing.